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In its latest report, ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, has identified the drivers and inhibitors platform providers and manufacturers need to consider as they look to implement Industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms. Some of the key findings include:
- Platform providers need to deepen and broaden the capabilities of their platforms to support and integrate emerging transformative technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Platform providers should sell to IT but work closely with OT.
- Manufacturers should choose partners that will provide consulting as they continue to evolve.
“If platform providers hope to keep their offerings relevant, they must work with suppliers of other transformative technologies to provide the most valuable functions and components,” says Pierce Owen, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “For instance, AR applications require business rule functions, digital twin functionality, near real-time metrics, zero-touch onboarding, and advanced analytics features.”
It seems that almost every company that has built a piece of software for the IIoT calls it a platform, and as such, IIoT platforms come in a variety of flavors. Perhaps the ‘platforms’ that most suit that word fill the role of an application enablement platform (AEP). AEPs extract data from devices and move it to applications based at the edge or in the cloud. This platform might have connectivity or device management tools. It might also act as a data orchestration system and include an app store or have app development capabilities whereby users can create and access applications that generate insights from their data.
Siemens Mindsphere currently leads the pack of AEPs largely due to Siemens’ domain knowledge as an automation supplier, its M&A strategy, R&D budget and its size. In addition, Siemens has a large installed base of its own physical products to which it can connect Mindsphere easily, a vast ecosystem in the manufacturing sector, and its own manufacturing facilities where it can perform internal use PoCs. These advantages empowered Siemens to add 2900 digital manufacturing customers in 2017, doubling its total from the start of the year.
Other IIoT platforms specialize in a specific piece of application enablement or microservice such as fog computing or processing raw sensor data. ABI Research sees FogHorn Systems as a key innovator in real edge computing and complex event processing (CEP) at the edge. FogHorn now faces the challenge of shifting from a successful start-up with a few big deals to embedding its software on millions of devices and assisting clients with large-scale implementation.
“Adoption of IIoT technology will accelerate in 2018 as manufacturers overcome their fear of the cloud and the acquisitions of Siemens and PTC start to mature. During this acceleration, several AEPs will grow and pick up market share, but only those who expand the depth and breadth of their capabilities and transformative technologies to provide more value to more customers will sustain that growth,” concludes Owen.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Smart Manufacturing Platform Assessment report. This report is part of the company’s Smart Manufacturing research service which includes research, data, and analyst insights.
About ABI Research
ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture.